Several varieties of raw sheep cheeses, yogurt, natural lamb sausage is available periodically; whole and half lambs (meat) is for sale a few times a year.
Garden Variety Cheese is a small farmstead cheese business, based on 40 acres in Northern Monterey County. Rebecca began commercial milking and cheese production in March 2009, and started selling three varieties of raw sheep cheeses at Santa Cruz farmers markets in June 2009.
Their sheep produce lovely, rich sweet milk that makes fabulous cheese. To ensure the health and well-being of the animals and the high quality of the milk and cheese from Garden Variety Cheese, the 100 milking ewes at Monkeyflower Ranch are fed on organically raised, irrigated pasture and organic brewer’s grain. Each ewe is named after a garden flower and treated with love and respect.
Dairy sheep only produce milk for six months out of every year, and spend the dry season pregnant, fattening up for the milking season. At the peak of the milking season, Rebecca’s sheep produce up to 20 gallons of milk per day.
Rebecca spends about four hours a week in the “cheese cave”— a concrete-walled garage built into the hillside, where the cheese is aged. She methodically turns the cheese wheels and cleans off the mold growth. The cheese cave holds 600 to 600 wheels of six to seven pound wheels of cheese. Most of the cheese is aged and ready for sale in about three months.
Cheese and Wine Pairings Black-Eyed Susan is raw sheep cheese aged for 4-6 months. The flavor is very fruity and buttery, with a nice tang and a rich flavorful finish. Black-eyed Susan goes well with figs and honey, salami and brown ale. 2012 Good Food Awards Gold Winner.
Moonflower is raw sheep cheese aged for 4-6 months. During aging it develops a washed rind which gives it a lovely orange color. It has a smooth texture, with a salty caramel flavor and a hint of pungency at the finish. It pairs well with cherries and Zinfandel.
Beau’s Blend is a mix of raw sheep milk and raw cow milk from nearby Schoch Dairy. It is aged 3-4 months and is pleasantly sharp and creamy, with small eyes. It is great for omelets and gourmet hamburgers as well as paired with a full-flavored red wine.
Hollyhock is a raw sheep cheese aged for at least 8 months. The extra aging gives Hollyhock a full, rich flavor and a smooth texture. It is mildly tangy and reminiscent of brown butter and roasted pistachios. Dates, brown bread and a full-flavor red wine pair nicely with Hollyhock. 2010 American Cheese Society winner 3rd Place–Aged Sheep Cheese 2012 Good Food Awards Gold Winner
Cosmos is a raw sheep milk feta aged in brine for over 60 days. Sheep’s milk makes a rich and creamy feta which stands up well to the intense saltiness. It is delicious sprinkled over cucumbers, red onions, and fresh tomatoes or mixed into warm pasta with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes. 2012 American Cheese Society winner 3rd Place–Sheep Milk Feta
Sheep Milk Yogurt is extra thick and luscious with a pleasant tang. It makes a great breakfast mixed with fruit and granola, but also works well as a savory dip with cucumber and garlic.
Adopt A Ewe Program
For $500 you can cover the costs to feed and care for a naturally raised dairy sheep. In return, you will receive close to $600 worth of farm products from January to July of 2014.
You will also be the proud sponsor of a lovely individual animal and you and your family will be invited to visit your ewe and the ranch at private events. And you will have the satisfaction of helping a young entrepreneur fulfill her dream of a life on the land while supporting local artisan food production. Find out more >